You know how every so often the “doppelgänger game” starts circulating on social media? People post photos of themselves next to celebrities they allegedly look like. Their friends chime in with suggestions, and it’s always really fun to see what people say.
Or so I’ve heard. It’s not really that fun for me. I always know exactly what answer I will get. Since This is Us, my favorite TV show in the whole entire world, premiered in 2016, there’s only one answer when I ask about my celebrity lookalike: Chrissy Metz.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Chrissy Metz. I think she’s gorgeous. Have you looked at her Instagram? Her eyes are ridiculous. Her calves are a work of art. She’s so effing beautiful.
I am not in any way offended to be compared to her or her character, Kate Pearson. I can’t even tell you all the ways Kate Pearson and Katie Cloyd are the same exact freaking person.
It’s an incredible compliment.
When Chrissy Metz rose to superstardom, I finally, finally got to see someone on TV with a plus size body similar to mine. We are a comparable shape and size. One of my favorite things about watching This Is Us is chasing down her fashions the next day. I can wear anything Kate can wear. Sometimes, I already own something Kate sports on the show. Chrissy is talented and beautiful and amazing.
I won’t pretend we don’t look fairly similar. We are both plus size brunettes, and we both have really freaking fantastic eyebrows if I do say so myself.
It’s not that it bothers me to be compared to Chrissy Metz. I mean, in this case, we do kind of look similar. I’ll give people this one. I see glimpses of sameness.
It’s just so painfully predictable.
Throughout the course of my life, I’ve been compared to so many plus size celebrities that barely look like me, except that we are close in size.
During my middle school years, Ricki Lake’s talk show was popular. So was telling me I looked “just like her.”
Then Rosie O’Donnell got her show, and I couldn’t turn around without someone saying I “favor Rosie.”
When Hairpsray came out, Nikki Blonsky was the doppelganger of choice.
I’ve gotten Melissa McCarthy a few times.
Whitney Way Thore’s Big Fat Fabulous Life gave me another “lookalike.”
Someone recently told me I look like Tess Holliday.
This is too much. Come the hell on. She’s a stunner, so like, yay for me for drawing the comparison, but let’s get real. She’s a heavily tattooed redhead! What on earth looks the same about us?
Literally nothing but the numbers on the tags in our clothes.
These celebrities look nothing like one another. You never see a photo of Chrissy Metz and pause to check if it’s her or Tess Holliday or 1990s Rosie O’Donnell. It doesn’t happen.
And if they don’t look alike, they don’t all look like me.
So, what gives?
I have a theory.
The world is very used to treating fat women like we are invisible.
I mean, not all the time, of course. Sometimes, we get to listen to men tell us how unfuckable we are. That’s always a treat.
We do get to see ourselves portrayed as headless bodies when a news story about the horrors of obesity rears its head.
And of course, when we dare to feel good, call ourselves worthy or demand the right to take up space, we are suddenly very, very visible. And people hate us.
But when we are “behaving,” fatties are basically wallpaper. If we just put our heads down, wear dark colors, stay out of spaces “not meant for us” and toe the fat people line, we can escape a lot of criticism. The cost is that we also miss a lot of experiences that we deserve. Invisibility feels good when the alternative is ridicule, but sometimes you just want to matter.
Once in a while a fat woman who knows her worth and refuses to accept that she doesn’t matter rises to fame. She accepts the venom the world will spew at her and chooses to be visible in the most public way possible. Fame is not always reserved for the people who fit the Hollywood ideal.
Sometimes a fat woman forces the world to see her.
Then people fill in my face with hers.
I already know that some people will not understand why this even bothers me. If I can admit that I actually kind of do look a little like Chrissy Metz, and I think it’s a really flattering comparison, then why am I even talking about it?
Glad you asked. I’ll tell you why. Because being told I look like every other fat white woman alive since I was 12 years old is just one more example of ways that being fat is emotionally exhausting.
It’s draining to hear that I’m a ticking time bomb because of my weight. When someone questions why my husband loves me, it depletes me a little bit. I see targeted ads for weight loss supplements every single day, and their hook is always that I need to be thinner to be a good mother.
I’m happy in my body and some days it feels like the whole world is telling me how wrong I am for that.
The world just doesn’t like fat people, and every time I have to confront that, I get a little more tired.
The takeaway here isn’t really about celebrity lookalikes, or Chrissy or Tess or Melissa or Whitney or me. It’s just a little reminder to do your best to really, truly see people. See through your preconceived notions, and get to the heart of the people around you.
It’s so important for everyone to get a few minutes respite from the labels we carry that we didn’t choose for ourselves.